26-12-2016 Sabawoon Jarga maraka
Program: Jarga Maraka
Topic: Performance of National Accountability Bureau KP
Field Story: Afzal Khan Mohmand, Peshawar
Guest #1: Khitab Gul Afridi, Deputy Director NAB KP
Guest #2: Arshid Aziz Malik, Resident Editor Jung Newspaper
Anchor Person: Shahab Ud-Din
âNational Accountability Bureau has been established under the National Accountability Ordinance 1999. NAB is Pakistanâs apex anti-corruption organization. It is thoroughly independent and autonomous for the purpose to combat corruption and to restore embezzled resources. It focuses on prevention, detection, processing and bringing the accused to task. The area of jurisdiction of NAB includes both government and private officials including politicians. Public has positive and commendable views vis-Ã -vis NABâs performance. Public is not satisfied with Voluntary Repatriation and Plea Bargaining Laws though. NAB is in good books of journalists too. Media sometimes exaggerate fact and figures, says Mr. Arshid Aziz Malik, a journalist. Some people criticize NAB for doing settlements with embezzlers in carrying out VR process. On the other hand, NAB Officials deny it completely. People of KP in general are satisfied with the performance of NAB KP.â
Shahab: Peace be with you dear listeners. This is your host Shahab-Ud-Din with Sabawoon. Hope you would be vigorous. The segment for today is Jarga Maraka. Today, we will be discussing the performance of NAB (National Accountability Bureau) Khyber Pakhtun Khwa. We will try to shed light on its efforts against the eradication of corruption. For todayâs discussion we have invited Mr. Khitab Gul Afridi who is the Deputy Director NAB Khyber Pakhtun Khwa. You are welcome Sir.
Khitab Gul: Thanks a lot.
Shahab: In addition, we have also invited Mr. Arshid Aziz Malik who is a senior journalist. He is the Resident Editor for Jung Journal Peshawar. You are also welcome Sir.
Arshid: Thanks a lot.
Shahab: Dear listeners, you can also participate with us by dialing 091-111000101. Apart from it, you can give your feedback by texting on 0333-5807111.
Shahab: Mr. Khitab Gul, how is the performance of NAB KP presently?
Khitab Gul: NAB was established on 16th November, 1999 based on National Accountability Ordinance. The core purpose of NAB is the identification, detection and prevention of corruption going on in the country. Moreover, NAB is supposed to arrest corrupt individuals in order to penalize them by courts. In addition, NAB is responsible for collecting the embezzled money in order to add it to Gross National Wealth. As far as NABâs Performance is concerned, I will share some stats in this regard. NAB has received 327000 complaints countrywide so far. We have processed all of them. We have done verification of 11000 complaints. In addition, we have done 7500 inquiries. Apart from it, we have done 3700 investigations. Moreover, we have filed 2700 references in courts. We have arrested more than 5000 culprits who have been sent to jail. We have recovered 280 billion rupees. We have added this amount to Gross National Wealth. As far as NAB KP is concerned, it has received 38000 complaints so far. We have processed them. We have done verification of 2500 complaints. In addition, we have done 1500 inquiries. Moreover, we have done 666 investigations. 450 references have been filed by NAB in courts. 776 culprits have been arrested by NAB KP so far. We have recovered 4 billion rupees. The money involved in references we have filed in courts is of 27 billion rupees.
Shahab: Mr. Arshid Malik being a journalist, how do you assess the performance of NAB KP?
Arshid: I guess there are many other departments working for the eradication of corruption, but a change has occurred since the establishment of NAB. Mr. Khitab Gul said that 4 billion rupees have been recovered so far in which 3 billion rupees have been recovered in 2015 and 2016. This indicates the improvement in NABâs performance. NABâs performance is improving day by day. NABâs performance as compared to other departments is commendable.
Shahab: Mr. Khitab Gul, how can one register a complaint in relation to corruption?
Khitab Gul: There are many ways to do so. First of all, one can visit manually and drop complaint in our complaint cell in written form. Apart from it, one can register a complaint by calling us. In addition, one can send us a fax or email in this regard. Moreover, our chairman has the authority to take somoto action against a case highlighted by media.
Shahab: We have got a caller.
Caller 1: This is Fazal Ghafar. The topic of the program is ideal. Catching the embezzlers is good for Pakistan. We are really pleased with NABâs performance.
Shahab: Mr. Arshid, is NAB thoroughly autonomous? Is it interfered politically?
Arshid: According to the ordinance, Chairman NAB is a greatly authorized person. Some people and political parties do blame NAB. NAB is considered to be under the influence of government in some cases. I guess NABâs performance so far negates political influence as NAB has arrested even ministers. At times, there are some obligations though.
Caller 2: This is Niaz Ali Shah from Prraang Ghaar. I would like to know how independent NAB is. Apart from it, does NAB itself investigate its own junior officials if founded corrupt or any other department does the investigation?
Shahab: Mr. Khitab Gul will reply to this. Mr. Arshid, you may carry on.
Arshid: NAB has got its own independent board. They give rundowns of every case to media as well. As far as I am concerned, NAB is independent to a great deal.
Shahab: Mr. Khitab Gul, you may give reply to the callerâs questions.
Khitab Gul: NAB is thoroughly independent and powerful. Chairman NAB is completely authorized and is not responsive to anyone. He can take any legal action under the ordinance. He is not bound to take detections from higher authorities. As far as the second part of the question is concerned, we do have precedents in this regard. NAB itself has authorized inquiries against NABâs own officials. Many officials have been suspended and penalized. We have also recovered money from them.
Caller 3: This is Baji from Charsada. NAB takes a considerably low amount of money from culprits although they have done billions of corruption. They are rather sent to jail for some months or even a year. When they come out of jail, they live a luxurious life as NAB doesnât seize the entire embezzled amount. NAB lets them walk away in such a way. I guess NAB should do justice to its name and should process cases in an effective way.
Khitab Gul: Lady was talking about plea bargaining and VR. Plea bargaining is a part of the ordinance in section 25a, b. People do criticize plea bargaining but the law isnât passed by NAB. It is rather enacted by parliament.
Shahab: Could you please explain what VR is?
Khitab Gul: VR is the Voluntary Return of the embezzled money. It occurs at inquiry stage whereas plea bargaining occurs at investigation stage. There are three stages of a case. Inquiry is the first stage. It is followed by investigation. This is prosecution stage.
Shahab: You mean to say that VR is something in which the embezzler voluntarily returns some amount of the embezzled money while inquiry?
Khitab Gul: It is a misperception. The embezzler is supposed to hand over the entire embezzled amount with extra charges while plea bargaining. An embezzler cannot get away with returning half of the embezzled amount. People do criticize us in different ways due to the lack of information. People blame NAB for having taken 2 billion rupees from the embezzler in Quetta Case whereas he is founded to have embezzled 40 billion rupees.
Caller 4: This is Wadood Afridi from Barra Khyber Agency. Are Ehtesab Commission and NAB parallel departments? As long as plea bargaining exists, NAB cannot bring changes.
Shahab: Our reporter Afzal Khan Mohmand has arranged a report regarding plea bargaining. Letâs listen to it. Weâll be back. Stay tuned.
REPORT: Afzal Khan Mohmand, Peshawar
NAB is the strongest and most authoritative department vis-Ã -vis the prevention of corruption in the country. The purpose of its establishment was to grab a hand on both government and private persons who are involved in corruption. NAB headquarter was set in Islamabad for effective performance whereas its regional units have been initiating efforts for the prevention of corruption in other parts of the country. According to NAB, 328 cases are under investigation till January 2016. 607 cases are under inquiry. Lihaz, who is a journalist from Peshawar, said that the performance of NAB in the eradication of corruption is commendable, but plea bargaining is hurting NABâs performance. He says as under:
âNABâs performance is far better as compare to other departments working in this regard, but public does impugn plea bargaining and voluntary repatriation.â
According to a press release of 16 December, 2016, NAB has succeeded in more than 77% of the cases in courts. In addition, NAB has penalized 416 individuals since 2011. Moreover, billions of rupees have been added to National Wealth by NAB.
Shahab: Welcome back listeners. We have got a call.
Caller 5: This is Pakhtun Yaar from Tank. I guess bribe is common everywhere in the country. One has to give bribe even in trivial matters. I wonder what kind of accountability NAB is talking about.
Khitab Gul: I would share a hadith in this regard. Our Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) verily says that whoever either gives or takes bribe will be put into hell. We should not give bribe when a person asks for it. If all of us refuse to give bribe, the ones who ask for it will be compelled to do our work on the basis of merit. We have followed the concept of plea bargaining from America. When a person accepts the crime in early stages of the investigation, courts give some kind of penalty concession to such culprits. NAB does take the entire embezzled amount from culprits with extra charges on. In addition, the culprit will lose government job if has one. He or she will be banned to have a government job for ten years. Participation in election is also banned. No bank will give loan to such embezzlers. In short, NAB sets an example of such people.
Shahab: Mr. Arshid, what are your thoughts regarding VR and Plea Bargaining?
Arshid: I think both public and media need awareness in this regard. Media at times, exaggerate corruption figures. Exact figures will be known after the investigation takes place.
Shahab: I guess media usually shares facts and figures provided by NAB itself.
Arshid: I guess it is hard to prove embezzlement. One cannot state exact figures before having done the investigation. I guess it is publicâs responsibility to report any ongoing corruption.
Khitab Gul: 90% of the criminal casesâ decisions are made by plea bargaining. It reduces workload of courts. I would shed light on Baluchistanâs Plea Bargain Case. 40 billion rupees corruption is state to have taken place. 6 billion rupees were approved for local government offices. 2.31 billion rupees were directly transferred to the account of Chief Officer without involving local government. 2.24 billion rupees were embezzled. 2.76 billion rupees have been recovered by NAB Balochistan.
Arshid: Supreme Court ordered the termination of VR recently. I have a demur in this regard. There are officers in NAB who still work on their position despite NABâs conduction of VR. They even have got promotions. Our parliament should form legislation in this regard. There should be some penalty for VR Conductors.
Shahab: Mr. Khitab Gul, Mr. Wadood said that whether Ehtesab Commission and NAB are parallel departments or not.
Khitab Gul: They both are parallel departments. NAB is a federal department whereas Ehtesab Commission is a provincial department. Ehtesab Commission can only take action against provincial government officials. On the other hand, NAB can take action against federal, provincial and even private individuals. For instance, if someone cheats a person and takes his or her money illegally, NAB can take action against such frauds as well.
Shahab: Mr. Arshid, politicians usually blame various departments for doing corruption. Many politicians promise to eradicate corruption when elections are on the corner. Is their role in the eradication of corruption honest or not?
Arshid: I guess all are not alike. References have been issued against some politicians. I guess corruption is our collective problem. Institutions should be strengthened enough to keep check and balance on these politicians in order to improve their performance. Accountability is greatly needed for the eradication of poverty and prosperity of the country. Politicians do make promises to eradicate corruption, but when they get power and find that there is no check and balance, they also start doing corruption.
Shahab: Mr. Khitab Gul, public is not satisfied with types of penalties given to embezzlers. Being an officer of NAB, are you satisfied with these types of penalties?
Khitab Gul: Maximum penalty is of fourteen years. Unfortunately culprits donât get enough penalties by courts when we file references. Culprits are sent to jail for one or two years. They appeal in High Court or Supreme Court where they are either released or get their penalty reduced. This is why we give preference to plea bargaining in which we recover some amount at least. On the other hand, embezzlers are likely to get a clean-chit from courts.
Shahab: Mr. Arshid, there are many departments working against the eradication of corruption. Will the number of departments affect each otherâs performance?
Arshid: Usually one department starts investigating a case which is already being investigated by another department. All the accused arrested by Ehtesab Commission walked free from courts as NAB already had done those inquiries. NAB has got professionals and experts whereas Ehtesab Commission doesnât have resident experts. Anti-corruption department should take care of trivial cases whereas NAB should take case of mega cases.
Shahab: Mr. Khitab Gul, you said that NAB is supposed to take action against embezzlers who cheat public. People from all over the country have been cheated by âMazarba Scandalâ. No progress has been made by NAB so far in this regard.
Khitab Gul: We have filed references in courts against Mazarba Scandal. Mr. Afzal Khalik resident of Doaba Tal, who got famous as Mr. Double Shah, had opened an office in Taxila. He collected almost 15 billion rupees from all over Pakistan and got invisible. We received thousands of complaints in this regard. We have arrested Mr. Afzal Khalik. He is in jail. His case is in court. We have frozen his possessions and property. When court penalizes him, his assets will be auctioned. The recovery from his assets will be divided accordingly among victims.
Shahab: What message would you give to our listeners? How can they help NAB eradicate corruption?
Khitab Gul: Public should report to NAB if any corruption is going on around them. This is the least they can do.
Shahab: Mr. Arshid, what message would you give?
Arshid: I think public should not consider NAB the only responsible for the eradication of corruption. Public should play their role by boycotting from this menace.
Shahab: Thanks a lot to both of you for your time. This brings us to the conclusion of the program. Itâs goodbye.
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